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Endurance.Net Home 2007 Al Andalus: Day 2

Day 8 (18/05/07) - Lynne Glazer

The sun was still rising as the riders mustered at the sport complex. In contrast to leaving Ronda, for better photo results this time I sat in the back of the video crew's pickup truck. Down a frontage road next to the highway, we soon came to a roundabout where the center lawn was occupied by life-sized horse statues in festive colors. Have a look, they certainly seem to be purebred Arabians to me!

We made our way through a residential district suceeded by a commercial one, where lots of spectators took note of the riders' passage. Some of the riders were already on their cell phones, presumably connecting to their crews speeding to the first assistance point. Jérez is famous for its vineyards, as part of the sherry "triangle" in Cadíz, but we passed other crops under cultivation on this side of town. It wasn't long before we reached the vet gate, since the terrain was mostly flat. The rolling hills behind the site were gloriously green and gold. Soon we got to the beginning of the wetlands, the Doñana National Park. This immense preservation area is the primary nesting grounds for Europe's birds, the salt marsh of the Guadalquivir river. We had begun the ride at the river's birthplace in Cazorla, and had flirted with it throughout the trip. Its name comes from the Arabic for "great river", and it ends in the Gulf of Cadíz. We passed a bunch of shrimp boats along the way and saw a few picturesque abandoned boats too.

We leapfrogged with freelancer shooter Angel on the quad, and then we agreed that I'd switch to the quad for a while. This was where the language barrier became a bit insurpassable. The video crew in the pickup took off after we'd shot in a particularly nice place, with water in most of the foreground and the riders up on a bank. And inexplicably, shortly thereafter, my quad's driver took off too, while I was out on a spit shooting.

That meant I was on my own in this vast park?though there was no concern about getting lost, I had some unhappy thoughts about high heat, no water and no insect repellent. Decided the best thing to do was to treat it as an adventure and start walking. I enjoyed the variety of the wetlands, shooting the riders as they came up behind me. Eventually the unmarking crew came along, thankfully with a pickup truck, and I hitched a ride to the finish. I really liked the photos taken on this leg of the trip, which when processed through Photoshop should look really nice. The high contrast of sky, water and the patterns of the aquatic plants was most interesting.

We drove though the scenic beach town and found the finish line right on the beach, where they otherwise hold flat beach track horseracing events! This was a particularly festive finish with Manzanilla sherry served by the costumed company representatives, a tethered balloon offering rides (I took one) and some fun races by the back of the pack riders. Francisco "Paco" Lopez got picked up and taken to the sea for a good dunking for winning the tandem division. Some of the horses visited the water as well, and I sure enjoyed the sensation of walking in thigh deep. It was pretty warm, look at how many people were stuffed into the beer tent! The sherry was delicious, but I was careful not to have too much, it can sneak up on one.

Team Maratim's motor home got stuck in the sand, so those guys worked up an appetite freeing it. The horses were stabled nearby in an existing barn, and the sponsored ride meal was particularly delicious.

Later that night after a happy reunion with my gear that had gone to a crosstown hotel, I met up with Michael at the traditional Hotel Doñana, and grazed our way along the beachfront seafood restaurants?he'd been here before and knew which delicacies could be found at which place. Along with vino tinto. I'd worked out, right? More fresh, irresistible seafood couldn't be a bad thing.


1 ? Pedro Torres ? Vikingo II - 3:51:05  #21 (trio)
2 ? Lise Chambost ? Sahel de Gwenkat - 3:56:10  #15 (pairs)
3 ? Josep Costa - Olivia - 4:28:03 #3 (pairs)
4 ? Pablo Brome - Vesana - 4:31:40 #17 (pairs)
5 ? Juan Carlos Sánchez - Chiapas - 4:34:04 #27 (pairs)


1 ? Francisco López ? Red Express ? 4:44:46 #37
2 ? Jose León ? Bulería ? 5:14:42  #39
3 ? Manuel Narbona ? Pussa Turismo Jerez ? 5:16:43 #42
Lynne Glazer